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CIF Probing 'Racist' Tortilla Throwing at San Diego-Area HS Basketball Game

 June 22, 2021 at 10:18 AM PDT

Speaker 1: 00:00 Uh, national Latino civil rights group says Coronado high school coaches should be fired after a racist incident at a championship basketball game. Last weekend, the league of United Latino American citizens says strong action should be taken at Saturday night's game Nado players with a mostly white student body through tortillas at their rival orange Glen high school players and Escondido school that is largely Latino observers have pointed out that this is the third time in recent years that San Diego high school sports events have been marred by racist incidents. And it opens the question as to why 21st century teenagers with all the heightened awareness against racist behavior would engage in these incidents and how they affect the students who are targets of that. Racism. Joining me is Dr. Ashanta Anderson assistant professor of pediatrics at USC and a children's hospital in Los Angeles and Dr. Anderson, welcome to the program. Speaker 2: 01:03 All right, I thank you for having me today. Speaker 1: 01:04 What's going on here? Why do these racist outbursts persist? When there seems to be such awareness and sensitivity against racial bias in schools Speaker 2: 01:14 These days, there is a heightened awareness and a lot of folks that call it a racial reckoning around what needs to be done to fight the racial bias and the racism that's there, but that racial bias and that racism have been there for a long time. And many people will speak of children as these sponges ever since they're born, they really are like sponges. They're taking in this information. They're taking in science and evidence of the bias and racism. That's there and begin to form their own views about people and about the circumstances in the world. And so we need to continually do work as parents and others who care for children to go against some of that negative information. That's setting up the bias that they have are Speaker 1: 01:53 Teenagers picking up these biases from parents, Speaker 2: 01:56 Teenagers pick up these biases from everywhere where parents are their first teachers. So parents are in a place to direct the information that their children who become teenagers know the information that they're receiving, but children are receiving an informal education from everywhere, from what they see on media, whether it's on the internet or a sign TV, they're constantly getting information and it's not an important role of the parents to help them to filter that information, to make sure that it's the right information and that it reflects the values of the family. Now last Speaker 1: 02:25 Saturday at this basketball game at Coronado high car Nado had just won a very close and hard fought game. The players of orange Glen high school were pretty devastated at the loss, and then they get tortillas thrown at them. What does an insult like that say to those players? Well, Speaker 2: 02:44 An incident like that can be very damaging to those players. It can be very damaging to their sense of themselves, their sense of their own racial, ethnic identity, and that ethnic identity is important. Part of them going on to have good health in general, you'll have good life outcomes, mental health, behavioral health, school outcomes. It's important for us to help them have a good, strong sense of their racial and ethnic identities. So it can be very damaging for them to have that kind of experience, especially if they don't feel that others are coming to rally around to go against that negative experience they had. Speaker 1: 03:17 Is there something about the intense atmosphere of sports competitions that kind of brings out this kind of behavior makes racist incidents more likely? Speaker 2: 03:28 There was something about the way we cheer for the home team, where we think about what's our team. Who's like us, and who's not like us that might bring out some of those little biases that people have deep seated, but like any other circumstance, it's still the time to put some of those biases to the side. There is a way for us to interact in the world and it's not by doing these kinds of things. And what can Speaker 1: 03:48 A school do to address an incident like this? Well, I Speaker 2: 03:51 Think the first thing will be important for the school to look at their own policies and regulations and make sure that there aren't things in place that allow biased treatment of students to take place. If they didn't already have policies in place to deal with this kind of incident during a sporting event, to begin to have one of those, to make forums for, you know, teachers, students, families, to be able to discuss the ways that they're feeling. And they should then just be very clear and transparent with the community about what their next steps are and about what the consequences would be for those who were throwing the tortillas. Can Speaker 1: 04:24 I ask you a sort of devil's advocate question here? Uh, you know, according to reports, there are only a couple of current auto players who through these tortillas and we all know teenagers sometimes pull stupid pranks. Is there a chance we're overreacting to incidents like this? Speaker 2: 04:40 No, there's not a chance that we're overreacting to incidents like this because unfortunately this is not an isolated incident. This is not the last time that our teenagers who experienced this will probably have something similar happened. So it was important for us to take a strong stance against it, because for them, it's not just as one-off incident, it's something that represents what the larger society may have in store for them. So we need to let them know that in response, we have a strong reaction against it. Yeah. When Speaker 1: 05:07 Escondido union school district official, and that's the group that oversees orange, Glen high, it has suggested this is an opportunity for restorative justice. How would you suggest something like that would work? Speaker 2: 05:21 Well? I think that it's always good to look at a challenging time like this as an opportunity to do something good. And I think certainly as you have the different stakeholders come to the table that can begin to talk and to move forward and to think about not only how those two players need to be treated, but how we can have the community come together in a larger way to be ready to deal with incidents that might happen outside of the sports arena. So I think I w I would leave it to the folks at the table to talk about what that restorative justice might look like. Speaking Speaker 1: 05:49 With Dr. Ashanta Anderson assistant professor of pediatrics at USC and at children's hospital, Los Angeles, Dr. Anderson, thank you so much for joining us. You're very welcome. Thank you for having me.

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Saturday's game between Coronado and Escondido's Orange Glen High School reportedly ended with unidentified people throwing tortillas at the Orange Glen team, which is predominantly Latino.
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